Written By: Lydia Levis Bloch
For preceptor Scott Kuperman, BSP ’88, compounding is singularly appealing because it allows him to be both creative and analytical.
“Pharmacists are experts on commercial products and drug therapy, but with compounding you also need to make something that will be stable, palatable, and effective,” he says. “It takes detective work to figure out what will suit a patient’s needs or what an animal might find appetizing.”
Since graduating from the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, Kuperman has worked for retail pharmacies in the Baltimore area, including his current employer Voshell’s Pharmacy. Throughout his career, he has focused on physician consultation and patient education.
For the last 25 years, he has specialized in compounding formulations for pain management, hormone balancing, pediatric preparations, and veterinary medications. For patients with allergies, he can compound products without the intolerable ingredients.
A preceptor for the School of Pharmacy since 1990, Kuperman eagerly shares his knowledge and enthusiasm with pharmacy students who do an experiential learning rotation with him. He has precepted approximately 300 students.
Kuperman’s goal as a preceptor is to offer an eye-opening rotation where students develop thought processes and skills they can apply in multiple areas of practice. “My objective is to give them enough confidence so that if a situation arises where compounding is called for, they know what to do,” he says.
Given today’s course load, students typically have limited training in compounding. During the COVID-19 era, they haven’t had much opportunity to polish compounding skills in the lab.
Kuperman can remedy that as one of only two preceptors for the compounding rotation this academic year. Plus, Voshell’s is Baltimore’s first Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board pharmacy. Under Kuperman’s supervision, students learn the unique aspects of non-sterile compounding.
“His expertise is unparalleled, and the School is fortunate to have him,” says Agnes Ann Feemster, PharmD, BCPS, assistant dean for experiential learning at the School of Pharmacy.
Nearly 30 percent of the School’s curriculum is provided by preceptors, the majority of whom are located in the mid-Atlantic area, but are also in Italy, Egypt, Australia, and Tanzania. “We have 949 preceptors available to represent 50 specialty areas, providing students with exposure to a broad range of practice opportunities,” says Feemster.
Kuperman is motivated to precept because he would like to emulate the preceptors he once had and provide his students with an educational and enjoyable experience. “Precepting is highly satisfying,” he says. “It’s interesting to see what students are being taught these days, how the curriculum has evolved and what their expectations are.”
Above all, he’d like to show them how compounding is not only rooted in history, but still highly valuable, engaging, and fun.
Aminah Jones, a student pharmacist who had a rotation with Kuperman in June 2021, echoes his observations. This was her first extensive experience with compounding, a rotation that had significant impact on her training, where each day was different and, she adds, “lots of fun.” The rotation gave her the chance to perfect her pharmaceutical calculations and compounding techniques. “Mr. Kuperman’s patience and encouragement helped build my confidence in my skills as a future pharmacist,” says Jones, who graduated in May.
Kuperman is the recipient of the School of Pharmacy’s 2006 Preceptor of the Year Award and the Maryland Pharmacists Association’s 2011 Mentor of the Year Award. A Baltimore native, he believes that contributing to the School through precepting has enabled him to come full circle. Asked what his education has provided, Kuperman says “a fantastic career.”